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Apple to use Bash in Panther


© August 2003 Tony Lawrence

Wed Aug 27 20:34:40 GMT 2003 Apple to use Bash in Panther

Fantastic is all I can say to this news: https://www.macnn.com/news/20783.

As I said in Using the shell (Terminal) in Mac OS X:

There's a very good reason for that. The tcsh shell is actually a pretty good shell, but its ancestry is bad. It comes from the csh, which is a simply horrible scripting shell (see ttp://www.faqs.org/faqs/unix-faq/shell/csh-whynot/ if you are more than mildly interested in why I say that). The history behind this is that csh was designed not as a scripting language, but as something that was easy for users. The "other" shell (/bin/sh) had good scripting and redirection power, but wasn't particularly friendly to users.

Over time, other shells came along that made the unfriendly /bin/sh more user friendly. The two that gained the most following are ksh and bash. Simple scripts in either shell will work in /bin/sh, and all but the most complicated ksh or bash scripts will work in either shell. There's no compatability with tcsh though.

Here's the thing: Mac OS X has a beautiful graphical user interface. There is no reason for you to be using the shell at all EXCEPT for its power for scripting and accessing the underpinnings of Unix. Most GOOD shell scripts you come across on the web or magazines will be sh, bash or ksh. So why not start out learning the kind of things that will really be useful? If bash were any more difficult or less friendly than tcsh, using that might make sense, but bash is every bit as easy and friendly, and some would say it is even more friendly.

Understand that I'm not saying that someone who is already comfortable with csh or tcsh should dump it and use bash. Those people should continue to use what they are comfortable with. This is directed at those of you who have no previous experience: don't waste your time with tcsh.


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